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Donald Sterling scandal: Who is V. Stiviano?

V. Stiviano made waves recently when recordings of her conversations with disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner were leaked.
V. Stiviano/Instagram

V. Stiviano is in the center of the Donald Sterling racism scandal because she is the girlfriend whose voice is heard on the recordings that ultimately got him banned from the NBA. Who is she though? The Los Angeles socialite was a relative unknown prior to the scandal that has rocked the NBA and the sports world in general. A Monday report by ABC News claims that V. Stiviano is believed to be the one who released the tape to TMZ that led to Sterling's demise although she denies the charge.

Her birth name is Maria Vanessa Perez. Court documents from 2010 show that the former Perez changed her name legally to V. Stiviano and cited that she was unable to fully be accepted because of her race. The reason why she chose the surname Stiviano has never been made clear.

Very little is known about the Los Angeles socialite. Her Instagram account says she is a "Artist,Lover,Writer,Chef,Poet, Stylist, Philanthropist" but aside from latching on to the richest players in Southern California, her actual career is unknown. She often posts pictures to social media depicting a very lavish lifestyle. They include pictures of the inside of a Bentley, pictures of high end purses, clothing and documentation of many vacations.

Stiviano has been associated with Donald Sterling for four years now. Incidentally, they started being seen together roughly the same time that she took measures to change her name. It is unknown if her relationship with Sterling is what prompted the change.

According to the lawsuit brought forth by Rochelle Sterling, her husband met V. Stiviano at the 2010 Superbowl and had been seeing him from that point. Although the pair have been linked romantically for the past four years, Stiviano insists that Sterling is not her boyfriend.

Rochelle Sterling has been married to Donald for 50 years and has taken legal action against V. Stiviano. She is suing for embezzlement, claiming that Stiviano used her husband in order to take millions in cash and gifts from the old man. Her suit for $1.8 million alleges that the much younger gal pal has benefited from her relationship with Sterling by way of luxury cars, apartments, jewelry, trips and more.

V. Stiviano shot to the forefront of the public eye after the release of an audio recording between her and boyfriend Donald Sterling that was laced with very disturbing racist language. In the tape, Sterling demands that she stop bringing minorities to his games and posting pictures of herself posing with minorities to her Instagram account.

Now here is the most shocking part in the entire scandal. Well, maybe not as shocking as Donald Sterling's views on minorities but quite honestly that has been public knowledge for years. The shocker here is that Donald Sterling's much younger girlfriend and regular companion is a minority herself! V. Stiviano is admittedly half Mexican-half Black. So one huge question is how could she stand to be near the man long enough to carry on a relationship or make those recordings?

In the audio recording, it is very obvious that V. Stiviano is baiting Donald Sterling into saying the awful things that were heard. Does that matter though? Whether she baited the man or not, she didn't speak the words for him.

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